Money laundering in Portugal “skyrockets” in 2022

DCIAP highlights “capital of dubious origin” coming from Russia

DCIAP, the department of investigation and penal action within the Public Prosecutions Office, reports that 2022 saw incidents of ‘money laundering’ – concealment of the origins of illegally obtained money – skyrocket in Portugal.

Tabloid Correio da Manhã says the entity that investigate crimes of ‘special gravity’ highlights incidents particularly of funds of ‘dubious origin’ coming from Russia, which is subject to strict economic sanctions imposed by the EU.

Says the paper, in 2022 DCIAP received 14,393 communications from banks relating to suspicious banking operations – a 43% increase compared to the 10,080 from 2021.

Just under 700 banking operations were blocked, with 776 inquiries opened. These processes analysed the movement of €145.1 million; $11.8 million and £2.9 million – again an increase on movements analysed the year before.

Explains the paper, Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine led DCIAP to reinforce vigilance over money transfers from Russian territory. Even so, 20 criminal inquiries were opened, which led to the blocking of banking operations to the value of €32 million.

Suspicious property investments

The practice of “geographically dispersed property investments” was one of the suspicious methods identified by the Public Prosecutions Office for the laundering of Russian money, says CM.

Other suspect situatinos came from the “use of Portuguese bank accounts for the circulation of money from Russia, as well as the circulation of large sums of cash from the country”.

€18 million in Russian assets already held by authorities in Portugal

Little has been released about Russian assets that have been seized in Portugal as a result of the various sanctions. The last mention of this subject came in December last year when authorities admitted to having ‘seized’ assets worth €18 million.

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